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HPV & Oral Cancer: What You Need to Know
Posted on December 13th, 2019
We love to talk about the fun and interesting sides of oral health, but today, there is something much more serious on our minds. We care about the health of everyone in the greater Houston area, and as dental care professionals, we feel it our duty to educate you on how to be as safe and healthy as you can be.
Human papillomavirus refers to a family of nearly 200 strains that infect the epithelial skin cells and mucous membranes, such as the inside of the mouth, tongue, tonsils, throat, vulva, vagina, cervix, penis (through the urethral opening), and the anus. HPV is transmitted primarily through sexual contact (oral and genital) and it is one of the most common viruses in the country.
According to the CDC, 8 out of 10 Americans will have an HPV infection at some point. However, 99% of HPV infections are cleared up by your immune system without any symptoms or any indication that you were ever infected.
HPV & Oral Cancer
While most of us know HPV as the sexually transmitted infection responsible for genital warts, that represents only a few strains of the virus (usually HPV6 and 11), which are low-risk. What most folks don’t know is that HPV is also responsible for causing cervical cancer (HPV16 and 18) and oral cancer.
In fact, HPV 16 is now considered the leading cause of oral cancer in America. Tobacco use and alcohol consumption are also major risk factors, but they do not have as much of a proven causative effect on the development of oral cancer as human papillomavirus.
HPV & Dental Health
If you are worried about getting oral cancer, don’t fret! Your Spring dentists have the expertise and the technology to identify any areas of concern, track problems, and make sure that diagnosis happens as early as possible. If you would like to come in for an oral cancer screening, contact us today!
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.